President Duterte, Senator Go negative for COVID-19

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President Rodrigo Duterte has tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said on Friday.

This, as  several of Cabinet officials isolated themselves from the public following exposure to a person who tested positive for the disease.

Go, Duterte’s former  special assistant, and the President submitted samples for the COVID-19 test last  Thursday.

“The results of the tests for COVID-19 conducted on President Rodrigo Duterte and I turned out negative,” Go said in a statement.

“We are fit and healthy to  perform our duties,” Go also said.

Duterte has postponed his scheduled inspection of Boracay on Thursday to undergo testing along with Go, his former aide.

In a statement, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that Duterte  and his former aide tested negative for the virus and will be back to work.

“This means that there is no stopping the Chief Executive from performing his primary constitutional duty of serving and protecting the people, especially at this perilous time when our country is faced with a deathly disease that threatens the very lives of our countrymen,” Panelo said.

“[Duterte] will continue to work with his usual passion and dedication for the nation. He will observe pre-emptive measures to secure his health as he steers the government in arresting the spread of the contagion,” he added.

Panelo said Duterte and Go  chose to undergo the test to “ensure that they are fit and healthy to perform their duties as government workers.”

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez also underwent self-quarantine to ensure that they are free of the virus after close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Under the protocol of the health department, undergoing self-quarantine means isolating oneself for 14 days.

Meanwhile, in  their latest update, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 12 additional positive  COVID-19 cases (PH53-64), bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 64.

The DOH and deployed surveillance teams, in cooperation with concerned Local Government Units (LGUs), are now conducting extensive information-gathering and contact tracing activities on the new cases.

“We continually ask the public to cooperate and help us in the investigation and contact tracing activities. Please contact DOH and call the designated hotline at (02) 8-651-7800 loc 1149-1150 for any new leads. For those who are confirmed cases, please let our hospitals take care of you. Studies show that chances of recovery are high. Let us take it upon ourselves to protect our family and our community’s health and well-being,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said in a statement issued Friday  evening.

DOH data show that elderly people (average of 66 years) and those with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression are vulnerable to the disease.

“We further urge those who are immunocompromised and are with existing health conditions to be more vigilant and avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings,” said Duque.

“I also implore everyone to please stop hoarding basic commodities, particularly hygiene and sanitation products. It does not help us fight off COVID-19. Realize that when you hoard, you are being part of the problem by denying the rest of your fellowmen the means to protect themselves,” the Health Chief said./Stacy Ang

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